I feel faintly compromised in mentioning this, since this week’s day off has just got eaten up (in a good cause) leaving me only the London art day planned for tomorrow. I’m sure the same sort of thing is happening to clergy colleagues much better than me, but at least the Lent day gave me some recharging time this week, and it’s the spirit not the letter that gives life.
So, thanks to Lesley Fellows for describing here how trying to do this has been impacting her work as a parish priest:
On the one hand I have been dropping balls.. people have not been visited who I used to visit, I have had reminder emails to do stuff I promised to do and haven't got around to, and I feel mildly out of control as I forlornly move tasks to do from one day to the next, my desk is untidy, my emails unanswered and my in tray is too full. Moreover when my friends ring me to go out for lunch I can't find a single slot in Lent. So why do it to myself?But a special Big Wet Sloppy Digital Mars Bar goes to David Harris. He would probably get one anyway, as a lay person who heard the clergy call and decided to give it a whirl himself. David has been trying out a few of our starter ideas every week: follow his adventures here.
Well the other side of the story is that I was getting more stressed than I would like to admit. I was getting stroppy with the kids, feeling vulnerable to dark moods and generally not thriving. I now feel happy. I feel better about the world, I laugh more, God is a good guy, I even love the church at the moment, I am more optimistic, I even think I am more effective in some ways.
I seriously don't want Lent to end until I get this in balance. It is now clear to me that my markers of success were in terms of getting the work done, the do list ticked and not letting anyone down. I am not even sure that the solution is a case of stopping some activities, perhaps it is worth me taking a hatchet to my diary in general, prioritising restorative time, and then accepting that the rest of the work may or may not fit.
The story I liked, however was here, about David going all the way to France to visit the Antony Caro Chapel of Light, finding it closed, explaining to the caretaker that he had been asked by his diocese to visit as a Lenten exercise, and getting red carpet treatment.
With these reflections come a mental note that blogs help improve the quality of unsolicited feedback I can be aware of from around the archdeaconry, and solicitation to anyone else to let me know of how they're getting on this Lent with the quest to sustain the Sacred Centre...
Images h/t Plattenspieler Design Blog